French and American Politics

The History, Similarities, and Differences

French History

History of French Politics:

Known history of French politics starts as long ago as the second century and had many changes and struggles to get to where it is today in the twenty first century.

2nd Century:

In the second century, France was ruled by a group of people referred to as the Gauls. However the Roman Empire soon conquered them under the rule of Julius Caesar. The Romans controlled this territory until the fall of their empire.

5th Century:

In the later half of the fifth century a group known as the Franks started to rule over the territory known as France. The first Frankish king, Clovis I, managed to unite a large amount of the territory during his rule


In 1328, the last heir of the Frankish throne died which sent the people into a succession crisis. This lead to the 100 Years War.


1337 is known as the year the 100 Years War officially started. This war was between the French and the English. The French managed to win and this war united France politically


1453 is referred to as the year that the 100 Years War ended. This is also the year that the Bourbon Dynasty began, which became to be known as an absolute monarchy.

18th Century:

The Bourbon Dynasty fell because of the French Revolution which took place from the year 1789 through 1799. The National Assembly ruled from 1792 through 1804.

19th Century:

After the National Assembly fell, Napoleon made the French Empire and named himself emperor. He ruled from 1804 to 1815.

After The French Empire:

After the French Empire fell, France went through a period of revolution and rapid government changes. From 1814 to 1830, another monarchy ruled. Then there was the Revolution of 1830. From 1848-1852, the Second Republic ruled, then the Second Empire was in charge from 1852-1870. After the Second Empire, France made the Third French Republic which was in power from 1870-1940. Then, during World War II, France was captured and ruled by the Vichy Government from 1940 to 1942. Then the Vichy Government was overthrown and the Fourth French Republic took power from 19444-1958, and finally the Fourth French Republic fell and the Fifth French Republic took it’s place. The Fifth French Republic is still in power today.

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American History

History of American Politics:

The political history of America started much later than France’s, by it has been much more consistent and stable.

17th and 18th Centuries:

In 1620 the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and Britain ruled America until 1776 when America declared its independence. This caused the Revolutionary War (1776-1783), and gratefully, the Americans won.

From Then To Now:

After the Revolutionary War American went through six party system changes.

First Party System:

The First Party System was used from 1792 to 1824. The First Party System featured two, and only two, national political parties competing for control of Congress, the presidency, and states. The first of the two parties called themselves the Federalist Party, founded by Alexander Hamilton. The second of the two parties named themselves the Democratic-Republican Party, usually just called the Republican Party, was founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Second Party System:

The Second Party System was used from 1824 to 1854. This system was about the same as the First Party System, the only difference being that the two political parties were called the Democratic Party, led by Andrew Jackson, and the Whig Party, led by Henry Clay.

Third Party System:

This Party System was utilized from 1543 to the mid-1890’s. This party system is mostly distinguished because it was a big contrast from the Second Party System and the Fourth Party System, because it was during the time of the Civil War.The two parties were the Republicans and the Democrats, examples being Abraham Lincoln and Grover Cleveland.

Fourth Party System:

The Fourth Party System was used from 1896 to 1932. There was the same two political parties as the last system, but during this era, the Republican Party was dominant, except for a 12 year gap where the Democrats held office.

Fifth Party System:

The Fifth Party System began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1932 and ended in the mid-1960’s. In this system, the Democrats were the majority in Congress and won 7 out of the 9 elections that happened during this era.

Sixth Party System:

The Sixth Party System is the current system used in the government. During this system, the back-and-forth between the Democrats and Republicans over who has majority in Congress and the Presidency has been pretty even.
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Historical Similarities and Differences

The similarities of French and American politics are few and fare between, but the differences are without number. Let's start with the fact that the French Political System is about 1400 years older than the American System as a difference and France has been an absolute monarchy, an empire, a constitutional monarchy, and a social republic while America has only been a republic. However, similarities do exist. Similarities include: both countries had a revolution of sorts that changed how the government was set up and at some point in their histories, both countries were united from a bunch of broken up regions to a cohesive country.

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Modern Similarities and Differences

America and France are still two very different countries, but there are more similarities in the modern era versus the historical era. However, there are still a good amount of differences to go along with the similarities. The similarities include that both governments both have 3 branch governments, senates, separation of powers, identify as a form of a republic, and have a local government system. Their differences include that while France is a republic, it identifies as a social republic( a republic with socialistic benefits) and America is a federal republic. And while France does have 3 branches of government, how they divide the responsibilities are different ex: there is a special council to decide if a law is constitutional or not and there judicial system deals with administrative issues.

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Examples ofFrench Government In Action Vs. American Government In Action

Le Pen vs Hollande at the European Parliament English subtitles
Opening Of The House Of Representatives 114th U.S. Congress